LooseCrew-JeffO: Boulder 100 - 2007


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Monday, October 15, 2007

Boulder 100 - 2007

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity...(Dickens)
And that sums up last weekend. I didn't finish this "easy 100" either (sigh), but man was it fun! I tried to run smart, and when I stopped, I believe that was wise, in spite of a frined who was down-right angry at me. I totally believed I was going to finish and could hardly believe it when I didn't, but after too much psycho-emotional BS after Leadville, I'm not losing any sleep over this (sorry).

I only made it 64.28 miles - my worst performance ever.
However, I ran 50 miles in 9hr50min.

I got plenty of sleep heading into this one.
Could have eaten a better breakfast - actually I should have eaten breakfast. Instead I had a Muscle Milk and a piece of beef jerky with an ibuprofen. Then a 20oz coffee. Better than nothing.

Wasn't sure how to attack this course. Most of my training and races have been high altitude and tons of climbing/descending. I finally decided to just run relaxed and easy until I could no longer continue, then walk until I could no longer continue, and hope it's over before I get to the hobble stage.

I still have no idea who and how many did the various events, so it's impossible for me to know how I was doing. Starting out, I ran for a bit with Jamie Donaldson and a guy who looked like some serious business. That set off an alarm inside because I'm not elite and soon was ahead of each. I stayed ahead until Jamie passed me at about 10.5 miles. My best guess is that I had been 1st place and had dropped to 2nd in the Boulder 100 solo event.
The whole time I was thinking how the Boulder 100 has a bad rap. First, it's 14 laps (yuk!). Second, it has 1.75 miles of asphalt each lap for a total of 24.5 miles. So nearly a quarter was paved.
Most of the people who do the Boulder 100 are running in the relay events. So the whole way, us solo runners see everyone whizzing by. Nearly all the solo runners who do the Boulder 100 are either first-timers, looking for redemption for a bad performance (or two [or three]), or both.

Not sure exactly how far I stayed in 2nd place, but I think it was for about 50 miles, in spite of the fact that Jamie D had lapped me! Both knees were wrapped, but they cut off some circulation and I had to take them off to combat the growing swelling in my feet and lower legs.
About 46 miles, I developed the worst cramp in my left calf that I've ever had in a race. It wasn't as full-blown as some people I've heard where they were prostrated as the mucsle self-destructed itself, but it was frighteningly close to that point. I had to stop and massage. My electrolytes couldn't possibly be low - the day was cool, I was sucking full-strength sport drink, plus gels, plus a few e-caps. This cramp would not go away.

Then my knees blew. They didn't completely blow, but they are barely blown to the point were these legs will not be able to run for a couple of weeks, and not very much after that. I may not even run Rim Rock three weeks from now. Oh, well, I tried.

I smiled a lot. People probably thought I was on drugs - or completely stupid. Maybe I slipped out of the doctor's hands when I was born and landed head-first (man, that would explain a lot!)

There were some fun people. It felt like a party that wouldn't end. In spite of the laps, I was never bored because there were too many great people passing each way.

However, early in the race, a friend I've known for years told me after only about 12 miles that he wasn't having fun and was rethinking everything. He said he wasn't just rethinking the Boulder 100 but ultra-running as a whole. He's thinking about not doing it anymore.
I told him that life is huge. There's too many things in life that are rewarding, fulfilling, and fun. If he isn't having fun, then he shouldn't be there. Everything with me has been one phase after another. Fishing, guns, hunting, crew (rowing), writing, missionary work, mountain climbing,... Heck, just move on to the next thing.

Maybe, though, he's worried that he'll lose most or all of his friends. Ultra-running absorbs so much time that even if I don't hold it against him, I probably won't run into him anywhere. We don't even live in the same town. The only time I see my friends is when we bump into each other in training or races. So I wonder how many of us just keep running because that's where our extended "family" is?

After the race, when I was laying in my car with my knees wrecked, my feet sore (been visiting an Occupational Therapist to reform my foot which keeps my right foot especially sore), and my right ankle swelling, another friend called and he was pissed at me for stopping. So not sure I still have that friend.

After giving my other friend absolution and supporting him as a person no matter what his endevours, it seemed very incongruous. Everyone is different and we all are motivated for different reasons. I very much want to finish the Leadville 100 in under 25 hours. Heck, just finishing any hundred will be hard enough. But that's what I want.
Don't judge me by that alone, though. I'm a lot more than just some ultra-runner. i feel inspired by quite a few people, and I feel responsible because I realize I inspire others. I don't want to let anyone down - I take life seriously. This is a fun, enriching endevour but the point isn't just to go 100 miles and then brag about it. Ultimately, going the distance doesn't really make you better. There's no pot of gold at the end of that rainbow (okay there's some gold buckles!). The journey is what it's about, and if that journey doesn't make you a better person, and if you don't take a few people along with you helping and inspiring them to be more than they were, then you've missed the point of everything.

After I had slept for hours, and got out to reassess to see if I could go on (there were hours left in the event), I decided that I probably couldn't safely go more than 1-15 miles. And if I did, I would surely be full-blown injured. So I went into the tent to find Miles K shivering out of control. And that was when he was nearly recovered.
Remember what I said about me being amphibious? When the temps drop below 40 and the wind is blowing, and sometimes the rain turns to snow for several seconds, well I'm no longer amphibious. I did my last (9th) lap with my upper body in full winter mountaineer suit - two tech shirts, fleece vest, down coat, Gore-Tex jacket, fleece cap. I still have shorts and wet feet, but my core was warm.


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